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Discovering Ottawa: A Perfect Blend of Adventure, Culture, and Luxury

22th Dec, 2023

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Discovering Ottawa: A Perfect Blend of Adventure, Culture, and Luxury

Discover culture, adventure, and luxury in Ottawa! From Parliament Hill to thrilling water sports and vibrant nightlife, an unforgettable vacation awaits in Canada's capital city

Ottawa, the capital city of Canada, is a vibrant destination offering a myriad of exciting experiences for couples and families alike. While the Parliament buildings and the Rideau Canal are iconic attractions, Ottawa has much more to offer. In this comprehensive travel guide, we'll explore unique activities, free attractions, adventurous pursuits, winter delights, and luxurious experiences that make Ottawa one of Canada's coolest cities.

Free Things to Do in Ottawa

Ottawa provides plenty of free activities, ensuring an enriching experience for budget-conscious travelers. From skating on the Rideau Canal and exploring the ByWard Market to touring Parliament Hill and visiting museums during designated times, there are numerous ways to enjoy the city without spending a dime.

Free Things to Do in Ottawa

Nighttime Adventures in Ottawa

As the sun sets, Ottawa comes alive with a vibrant nightlife. Enjoy a cocktail at the rooftop bar of the Andaz Hotel, embark on a bar-hopping adventure at the ByWard Market, or savor a drink at the Whales Bone. Ottawa's evenings offer a perfect blend of relaxation and entertainment.

Adventurous Pursuits in Ottawa

For thrill-seekers, Ottawa presents a playground of adventure. Try Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUP) on the Gatineau River with Urban Ocean or embark on a breathtaking biplane flight over the city with the Canada Air and Space Museum. Hiking enthusiasts can explore the trails of Gatineau Park, including a visit to the Carbide Wilson Ruins. For an adrenaline rush, don't miss the world-class whitewater rafting on the Ottawa River.

Winter Wonders in Ottawa

Embrace the winter magic in Ottawa with activities like Winterlude, snowshoeing, Parc Omega exploration, and skating on enchanting trails. The city transforms into a winter wonderland, offering unique experiences for visitors of all ages.

Highlights of Adventure in Ottawa

  1. Stand-Up Paddleboarding with Urban Ocean: Paddleboard along the Gatineau River, taking in the stunning views of Ottawa's landmarks.

  2. Biplane Flight at Canada Air and Space Museum: Soar above the Gatineau Hills and Downtown Ottawa in a World War II Biplane, experiencing an exhilarating 25-minute flight.

  3. Hiking in Gatineau Park: Explore the 365-square-kilometer conservation park with 165 km of hiking trails, offering a perfect outdoor escape.

  4. Carbide Wilson Ruins Hike: Take a picturesque 30-minute hike to the ruins of inventor Thomas Wilson's laboratory, a hidden gem in the Ottawa Region.

  5. Whitewater Rafting on the Ottawa River: Experience the thrill of class 5 rapids with rafting companies like OWL Rafting, Wilderness Adventures, and RiverRun.

Highlights of Adventure in Ottawa

Ottawa's Cultural Gems

  1. Parliament Buildings: While it may seem cliché, a tour of the Parliament buildings is highly recommended. Marvel at the architectural beauty and take a guided tour to learn about Canada's political history.

  2. Changing of the Guard: Witness the ceremonial changing of the guard at the WW1 Memorial and the East Lawn of Parliament Hill, a spectacle of precision and tradition.

  3. Yoga on Parliament Hill: Join mass yoga classes every Wednesday from May to August on Parliament Hill, a unique and free session sponsored by Lululemon Athletica.

Ottawa's Museums

Ottawa is not just the capital; it's also Canada's museum capital. Explore:

  1. Aviation and Space Museum: Home to 130 aircraft displays, flight simulations, and even opportunities for biplane flights.

  2. National Gallery of Canada: Admire Canadian art in a striking structure, with the famous Maman sculpture by Louise Bourgeois at the entrance.

  3. Canadian Museum of History: Immerse yourself in the history of Canada, from the First People's Hall to the Canadian History Hall, with breathtaking views of the Ottawa skyline.

Luxury and Relaxation in Ottawa

  1. Fairmont Chateau Laurier: Stay in one of Canada's most famous landmarks, centrally located with stunning views of the Rideau Canal and easy access to major sites.

  2. Nordik Spa-Nature: Indulge in a day of relaxation at this spa retreat in Gatineau, offering various baths, saunas, pools, and treatment options.

  3. Andaz Hotel Sunset: Experience one of the best sunset views in Ottawa from the Andaz Hotel's terrace in the ByWard Market.

Best Places for Ottawa Sunset

  1. Andaz Hotel Terrace: Enjoy a breathtaking sunset view over the ByWard Market while sipping on signature cocktails.

  2. La Terrasse: Located inside Chateau Laurier, offering a stunning view of the Parliament Buildings, the canal, and the Ottawa River.

  3. John Ceprano Rocks: Visit this park along the river, featuring unique rock sculptures by artist John Ceprano, creating a picturesque setting.

  4. Nepean Point: Famous for its gorgeous view of the Ottawa skyline and the Alexandra Bridge, ideal for a leisurely stroll.

More Ottawa Attractions

  1. Canal Cruise: Take an entertaining canal cruise from Chateau Laurier to Dow's Lake, exploring landmarks like City Hall, National Arts Centre, and Lansdowne Park.

  2. ByWard Market: Experience one of Canada's oldest public markets, bustling with shops, restaurants, and boutiques.

  3. Mosaiculture: Explore the stunning display of massive floral sculptures on the banks of Gatineau, showcasing artistry and design.

  4. Laval Street in Gatineau: Visit this trendy street transformed into a hub of patios and art installations, offering a unique atmosphere.

  5. More Ottawa Attractions

Where to Eat and Drink in Ottawa

  1. Riviera Restaurant: Voted one of the best in Canada, it's a favorite among politicians for its signature cocktails and changing daily menu.

  2. Whalesbone: A must-visit for seafood lovers, known for its oysters and two popular locations on Bank Street and Elgin Street.

  3. Chateau Laurier Restaurants: Indulge in exquisite dining at Wilfred's or experience the newly renovated Zoe's for a more relaxed atmosphere.

  4. Tavern on the Falls: Enjoy a picturesque view of Rideau Falls while savoring gourmet hot dogs and other delicious offerings.

  5. Brig Pub: Escape to this hidden gem in the ByWard Market, offering an extensive menu of pub food and unique culinary choices.

Easy Ways to Pass the Time in Ottawa

  1. Bike or Walk Along the Canal: Explore pedestrian-friendly walking trails along the Rideau Canal and Ottawa River.

  2. Walk Across the Alexandra Bridge: Enjoy a beautiful walk with designated paths for pedestrians and cyclists, spanning from Ottawa to Gatineau.

  3. Ottawa Monuments: Stroll through downtown, discovering monuments commemorating key moments and figures in Canadian history.

Ottawa Festivals

  1. Jazz Festival to Winterlude: Keep an eye on Ottawa's diverse festivals throughout the year, including the Jazz Festival, Tulip Festival, and the famous Winterlude in winter.

  2. Canada Day: Join the festivities on Parliament Hill, celebrating Canada Day with entertainment, water stations, and a mix of Canadian talent.

Getting to Ottawa

Ottawa is easily accessible:

  • By Air: Ottawa International Airport (YOW) welcomes international flights, with daily flights from Toronto's Billy Bishop Airport.

  • By Train: Daily train services connect Ottawa to Toronto Union Station.

  • By Car: A scenic 5-hour drive along the 401 or a 2-hour drive from Montreal.

Getting Around Ottawa

Navigate Ottawa conveniently:

  • Aqua Taxi: Cruise from the Rideau Canal Locks to Gatineau for a unique water experience.

  • Uber: An affordable and efficient way to travel within the city.

  • Taxis: While available, taxis can be pricier in Ottawa.

  • Car Rental: Recommended for specific attractions, especially for a day or two.

  • Bike Rentals: Explore Ottawa's bike-friendly environment with rentals available for various durations.

  • Walking: Many major sites are easily accessible on foot.

  • Gatineau: Walk across the Alexandra Bridge for a pleasant stroll to Gatineau.


Include Ottawa in your Canadian itinerary for a welcoming and bilingual experience. This city seamlessly blends culture, nature, luxury, and adventure, offering something for every traveler. Whether you're exploring Parliament Hill, indulging in luxury at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier, or embarking on thrilling adventures, Ottawa promises a memorable and diverse vacation.

Michael Thompson | Touristify.Live

Hello! I'm MichaelHello! I'm Michael, a 30-year-old travel enthusiast. I have a deep passion for exploring new places, experiencing different cultures, and embarking on thrilling adventures. Through my travels, I've gained valuable insights and helpful tips that I love sharing with fellow travelers. Join me on as I take you on a journey of discovery, providing unique perspectives and inspiring travel experiences. Let's create unforgettable memories together and explore the world one destination at a time!

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